The University of Mississippi marked the 44th anniversary of a milestone in its history today with the dedication of a civil-rights monument that features a life-size statue of James H. Meredith, the first black student admitted to the university. Mr. Meredith, whose arrival on the Oxford, Miss., campus sparked riots in 1962, was an honored guest at the ceremony.
“This monument is an appropriate way to memorialize the role of the University of Mississippi and James Meredith in opening the doors of higher education to all people across the South,” the university’s chancellor, Robert C. Khayat, said in a written statement released last week. “We hope it will serve as a reminder of the courage of Mr. Meredith and others who led the way in important cultural changes.”
Mr. Khayat, who has been chancellor since 1995, has led the university through a period in which it has increasingly embraced painful episodes in its past, including its resistance to integration. He told The Chronicle recently that Ole Miss had no choice but to be in the forefront of the national dialogue on racial relations. “I’ve described the university as a beacon in the state,” he said. “It has a moral responsibility to take the high ground” (The Chronicle, September 29).
Webcam images of the monument are available on the university’s Web site.